WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- U.S. banks reported an aggregate profit of 21.6 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2010, the highest quarterly earnings in nearly three years, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said on Tuesday.
This represents significant improvement from the same period last year, when commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the FDIC reported an aggregate net loss of 4.4 billion dollars.
"This is the best quarterly profit for the banking sector in almost three years," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair. "Nearly two out of every three banks are reporting better year-over-year earnings. As long as economic conditions remain supportive, most institutions should maintain profitability and increase their capacity to lend."
"Without question, the industry still faces challenges. Earnings remain low by historical standards, and the numbers of unprofitable institutions, problem banks and failures remain high, " she added.
The number of institutions on the FDIC's "Problem List" rose from 775 to 829 in the second quarter. However, the total assets of "problem" institutions declined from 431 billion dollars to 403 billion dollars. Forty-five insured institutions failed during the second quarter.
Last year, 140 federally insured institutions failed and were shut down by regulators. It was the highest annual number since 1992, when the savings and loan crisis hit its peak.
The FDIC, created by U.S. Congress in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system, insures deposits at 7, 830 lenders with 13.2 trillion dollars in assets.